Friday, May 20, 2011

Call in Irish Parliament for resignation of Irish Red Cross Vice Chairman

In a highly significant development in the continuing crisis at the Irish Red Cross Society a high profile and well respected member of Ireland’s parliament, Mr. Finian Mc Grath-Independent, has asked the Minister for Justice and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, if he will

consider asking the current long serving vice chairman of the Irish Red Cross to follow the example set by the former distinguished chairman and step down and not go forward for election this year in order to allow for a new start for the Red Cross in Ireland”.

This Blog understands it is the first time that such a specific request relating to the Vice Chairman has been tabled formally and on official record in Parliament. It was asked on 18th May 2011. The importance cannot be overstated.

In addition to requesting that the Minister seek the resignation of the Vice Chairman Deputy Mc Grath put forward the following question:

“To ask the Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the current vice-chairman of the Irish Red Cross intends to go forward for another term on the board of that organisation at its council meeting of 25th May 2011 (sic) next bringing his total service to date on the board to 20 years; if he considers this is compatible with best practice governance guidelines especially with regard to board rotation and renewal; and if he will make a statement on the matter”.

Of possibly more significance than the actual questions tabled by Deputy Mc Grath is Minister Shatter’s response. The Minister’s reply to the specific question about the Vice Chairman and the terms of board members could hardly be considered supportive or an endorsement of the Vice Chairman and others positions. His reply simply stated:

With regard to the Deputy’s question concerning the term of Board members and best governance guidelines, I have commenced an exchange with the Society concerning governance matters”.

All those committed to fundamental reform and change at the Irish Red Cross can only hope that the ‘exchange with the Society’ will be genuine and determined. If it is then there can only be one outcome. The person centrally involved will finally and extremely belatedly do the honourable thing. Until he does the crisis, the damage and the controversy will stumble on.

One thing I have learned in my time in politics is that if one of the parties is shameless, the other party cannot afford to be spineless-Frank Lautenberg

On a related matter:

Deputy Finian Mc Grath posed two other questions to the Minister. One requested Mr. Shatter to “include the concept of retrospection, which is previous service being taken into account for any new members of the executive committee going forward”.

This is a critically important concept and should feature in any new Irish Red Cross Constitution (it is not in the current draft version). If introduced it would preclude the current Vice Chairman and the Treasurer going forward for election again as their prior lengthy service to date, which is in serious breach of good governance practice, would be taken into account and disallow them from standing.

Deputy Mc Grath further asked the Minister when he expected to be in a position to fill the government nominee vacancy on the Irish Red Cross Society Central Council. The Minister replied “I am now considering how this vacancy might be filled and I will make a decision on the matter shortly”.

The Minister also confirmed for the second time in recent weeks that “amongst the issues that will be considered will be the question of introducing mandatory breaks in service”.

The fact that a serving Irish government minister has to spend his time and that of the Attorney General’s office on bringing in legislation to force the Irish Red Cross to reform itself seems of little concern or embarrassment to the Society’s Executive Committee and Central Council members.

The full text of the Questions and Answers (18th May 2011) can be viewed on the links below:


  1. Anonymous2:59 AM

    The criticism of the Executive Committee of the Irish Red Cross is having little or no effect on the individuals concerned, it just goes in one ear and out the other. I believe the reason for this is there is not to stop it !

  2. Anonymous5:37 AM

    Wow!!! That IS significant.

    Everyone knows though that the Vice Chairman will not go unless he is forced to go. Anyone who goes forward for the Vice Chairman position for 21 years in a row will not voluntarily resign regardless of whats the right thing to do.

    Word is there is no other nomination for Vice Chairman this year apart from the incumbent. This happens every year. If this is true then the matter is already decided. He will automatically be returned as Vice Chairman without even any vote taking place, just like all the other years. 21 years in the same board position!! And these people are trying to convince everyone they are committed to governance reform. No-one believes them. The Society has become a laughing stock. Imagine a call in Dail Eireann for the Irish Red Cross Vice Chairman to resign. How far we have sunk.

  3. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Blogger it appears that the Irish Red Cross are on the run. I posted a number of comments on their Facebook page and guess what they blocked me.

    I think its great and just to say thanks I will set up a really nice Facebook page on "Have you been blocked by the Irish Red Cross". As I am not based in Ireland I don't really give a toss.

    I guess they must have something to hide and are absolutely paranoid as they keep a person monitoring the Facebook page 24/7 in case someone writes something against the KING ! Must add up to sleepless nights !

    Do they not realize that I can make up hundreds of email addresses and bombard them with cute messages. Keep the pressure on they deserve all they get !

    They are in a mess and they have no protection other than censorship, which will not work!


  4. Anonymous11:32 PM

    As for being sunk, the Irish Red Cross have been sunk for decades. They have engaged various levels of consultants and lawyers who have taken the Society from the swamp to the Supreme Court. The International Red Cross and the Federation gave up years ago. They regard the IRC now as the carbuncle that one might have on ones ass and although being an inconvenience you just leave it, perhaps in the hope that one day it will just go away of its own accord. The Blog however, has inflamed this boil and it really is becoming a little more of a significant pain in the rear. There is a good side and that is that the ICRC and the IFRC know that the members of the Central Council are totally harmless critters and next Saturday they will do what they always do, behave with a herd mentality, maintain the staus quo, show no courage or backbone, eat their freebie ham sandwiches and then off back home for another six months. Would someone please explain why they even bother? Maybe it’s just a way for the Lords on the Executive to gather the proletariat in from the bogs so as to make them feel that someone up in Dublin cares about them. So sweet! Brings a tear to ones eye. Mr Forde must find himself lost coming from a semi organised infrastructure and having to deal with this crowd. Hopefully he is not totally demoralised and deflated already.

  5. Anonymous9:51 AM

    As a returning Irishman, I have been so much encouraged by the events of recent days that change for good is afoot and a new stronger Ireland will emerge from the rubble of economic collapse. The exception which saddens me as an old time RedCrosser is the malaise of the Irish Red Cross which offers the same old corruption and tired governance which has been the norm for so long now.
    Thanks to this blog for providing a platform for reform which will come one of these days irrespective of the minnows grasping on to control of this once proud organisation.

  6. Anonymous1:53 AM

    Well the list is out for the Executive and guess how many of our colleagues are on it. How many rules and laws do you have to break in the Red Cross to become eligible for this committee?